The flashy, jewel-toned color from this plant is gracing everything from cocktails and teas to Insta-worthy dishes, but what is butterfly pea extract? Even more important, is there any value of this plant beyond the ability to totally transform everyday beverages and foods? In fact, butterfly pea extract does have much more to offer beneath the mesmerizing deep blue of the flowers. This Asia-native plant may actually have special benefits when paired with the cannabinoids derived from cannabis like CBD (cannabidiol).
A Closer Look at Butterfly Pea Extract
Butterfly pea extract, which is sometimes shortened to BPE or called blue pea extract, is derived from the butterfly pea plant scientifically known as Clitoria ternatea. This plant grows wild in places like Thailand, where the dried blossoms are prized for medicinal property and for use as a natural dye.
While the butterfly pea is definitely gorgeous with its indigo blossoms, the true beauty of the plant lies within the enzymatic makeup. The blue pea blossoms contain both flavonoids and anthocyanins that could hold their own medicinal values for the human body. Plus, several studies have shown a number of therapeutic actions of BPE, depending on where from the plant the extract was taken.
The Potential Benefits of Butterfly Pea Extract Flavonoids
While as many as 70 different compounds found in butterfly pea have been examined by researchers, certain compounds are more prominent than others. Butterfly pea blossoms contain a number of unique anthocyanin-class flavonoids, some of which have been extensively examined for potential therapeutic action. These flavonoids are actually responsible for yielding the telltale color hues the blue pea is known for, but shifts in pH levels within the plant can actually produce other colors, such as mauve or purple. Let’s take a look at three of the most prominent flavonoids in butterfly pea extract.
Kaempferol is considered to be a powerful antioxidant, and it is actually found in several fruits and vegetables like strawberries and broccoli. Studies have suggested that kaempferol may be valuable for the treatment of chronic disease and can inhibit the growth of cancer cells while concurrently preserving the vitality of other healthy cells. In a thorough review of the flavonoid, researchers noted that kaempferol controls inflammation, which may help with cellular repair, and also seems to deter metastasis.
Quercetin is abundant in butterfly pea extract, and, much like kaempferol, this flavonoid acts as an antioxidant, which may help with a number of ailments. Some of the proposed benefits of quercetin include:
- Reducing inflammation
- Easing allergy symptoms
- Lowering risks of certain brain-related disorders
- Reducing blood pressure
Some studies have even suggested that quercetin may boost exercise performance and combat the signs of aging. As an adage, this flavonoid was also included in a clinical trial in 2020 to evaluate efficacy for certain aspects of COVID-19.
Myricetin is yet another noteworthy antioxidant found in blue pea extract and quite a few other natural fruits and vegetables. However, this flavonoid is also known to offer antimicrobial properties, anti-inflammatory properties, and may be specifically valuable because it affects the central nervous system and may protect against Parkinson’s disease. The antioxidant properties of myricetin have actually been noted to be more profound than vitamin E; it reduced free radicals twice as fast.
The Anthocyanin Enigma and Why It Matters
Anthocyanin flavonoids, as valuable as they have been shown to be in numerous studies, are also notoriously limited when introduced into the body alone. Much like CBD works better when introduced to the body alongside other cannabinoids due to the entourage effect, the flavonoids found in BPE have similar actions. The anthocyanin enigma is a phrase used to describe the fact that anthocyanin flavonoids rarely work alone but work substantially better with the support of other agents. Therefore, if you are merely taking myricetin or quercetin alone, for example, you may never reap the full potential of these agents.
Could Butterfly Pea Extract Maximize the Value of CBD or vice versa?
The possibility of BPE and CBD supporting the actions of one another are highly plausible, even though research into the idea is limited. Both CBD and the valuable flavonoids found in butterfly pea are known to work better when consumed with other plant elements. While we don’t fully know how flavonoids interact with the endocannabinoid system, we do know that cannabinoids seem to work better with flavonoids present in the cannabis plant and may play a role in the entourage effect. Due to the fact that BPE is rich in its own flavonoids, using BPE along with a CBD product could have complementary effects that go both ways.
Discover Butterfly Pea Extract and CBD for Yourself
While there is much yet to be discovered about the true value held within the butterfly pea plant, what we already know is quite exciting. At Core Gardens, we make use of butterfly pea extract, which is lab tested for flavonoid profile, by combining it with CBD. Our discoveries have made it possible for us to file a patent on this unique combination of butterfly pea extract and CBD. Our Relief Balm is the perfect example. Take a look at our collection of CBD products, dig into some of the other unique ingredients we incorporate, and let us know what you think about your CBD experience!